Robin Hughes (KCL) - 2016-17 Students

Metaphysical Vagueness: A rigorous account and some applications

Metaphysical vagueness is the idea that the world itself is unsettled or indeterminate in some way. That is, independently of our representations or conceptualisations, there is no determinate matter of fact concerning some aspects of the world. A classic example is the boundary of Mt Kilimanjaro: plausibly, there is simply no fact as to whether one particular rock belongs to Kilimanjaro or the plain surrounding it. The first aim of my project is to give a rigorous account of what it means for this seemingly odd state of affairs to exist. The second aim is to apply this account to various philosophical problems. For instance, once we have an account of metaphysical vagueness, we might be better placed to answer questions regarding composition (what does it take for some objects to compose a larger object) and personal identity (how much change can an individual undergo while remaining the same person).

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